February 23rd 2008, 23:15
Day of real men
The second day of Baja “Northern Forest - 2008” is over. It seemed that weather became quite good for participants, night frozen snow crunchs under car wheels, route has a good sun highlight. Everything forecasts a nice and fascinating fight.
Rally-reid is a special sport event. Russian journalists who got used to a classical rally realized this fact on Thursday, the 21st of February, during the scrutineering, when photographers did not know what to do having a lot of free time. “It takes so much time” – complain from a part of media, who work at such rally-reid for the first time. Friday, the 22nd of February, confirmed this idea again, when a half of a day was spent for a superspecial sector and three and a half hours were spent for a long route sector. But this delay did not influence the event: superspecial showed a nice fight and unforgettable fontains from the rally wheels (which are really unforgettable, because it will take a lot of time to wash off the spots on clothes). Today, on the national holiday of 23rd of February, the journalists who are working on the rally route enjoy this time duration of such kind of rally-reid. Long breaks between participants’ performance helped photographers to relax a bit. Spectators also found an additional time in order to concentrate on rally co-news like cooking on fire and snow games.
Rally-reid route is not a battle field. There are no trenchs, no barbed wire, no mines and no partisans. But there are a lot of other things, which successfully replace the functions of military redoubts. Deep drains – instead of trenchs. However, a rally-reid car construction can be compared to a tank construction. At least when you see how the pilots professionally cut the turns along the ditchs near the roadsides, it seems that their car is similar to military cars. And for sure they are much faster – for a long time noone did not pass through the local forests so fast. Trees – instead of barbed wire. You thought that it would be easy for sportsmen? No way. Rally-reids are not only driving through prairies and savannas. They had to be very careful on these forest narrow paths. Most of them did it successfully. Puddles, tracks and frozen route sectors were instead of mines. However, each of the pilots passed these sectors in a different style and time. Closer to the north the route got much more frozen during the night and pilot had to be very careful driving their cars on icy areas. The water blocks disturbed pilots in a forest area. During the second and the third sectors ditched by snow tires tracks influenced the driving process itself. In that case pilots had to keep up the rudder and try not to be off-road. And what about partisans? Fans had all the duties of partisans. It does not matter – off-road, on-road, car-damage etc... Fans are always with their idols, they will feed them, amuse them, help them to put the car off the route. You do not believe? We had such situation today. The question is – where have you been that time?
Rally-reid pilots are not soldiers. But they are also fighting. Paradox: they are fighting with time on the route and they are fighting with each other only on a paper. Wait, what paper we are talking about? There was not paper today, not at all. Paper was changed by satellite monitoring system Iridium. According to the modules, set up in rally cars, location information and results were transfered into the official site. Only one kind of information this system is not able to supply – what is going on with pilots, why one of them loses the time and the other wins. The organisation committee had to contact the main office, the route assistants and the service office for many times. Thanks to this connection line we have got the information about getting-away from the route of one of the rally favorites Boris Gadasin. His car was turned around across the route and was there for a long time due to the damaged car running gear. The Nart-Time team leader Ruslan Misikov had a better luck than his partner and even driving the new for him car he managed to get the second place in an absolute race. But still he needs to keep the postion tomorrow. The first position of Leonid Novitsky in the general classification is much stronger, he has more than six minutes. It seems that for rally-reid it is not too much. But Alexey Berkut has already proved the fact that a serious mistake not usually comes to uncorrectable consequences – thanks to a strength of the off-road cars. Like a kind of child toy: picked-up the speed, turned over the car roof, kept on the wheels and easy continued his way. But why easy? Alexey like a real fighter did not slow down the speed and came to the sector finish with the third time. The Defender of the Fatherland Holiday was really successfull for pilots. And the idea of rally-reid became much more clear. Cars are drivning fast, but with a special grace. The routes are not like road with roadsides, but it is an area with trees all around. Pilots are not soldiers, but fighters. The most important point for them is passion. The one who has the strongest passion will win tomorrow, on the 24th of February, the Baja Rally “Northern Forest –2008 St.Petersburg”.
Photo: Lina Arnautova, Andrey Chursinov, Alexander Lesnikov